Jack Molay. A Creative Crossdreamer Vocabulary: Reflections on Transgender. Amazon Digital & Blurb, 2015.
“the act of dreaming about being ones target sex or getting aroused by the idea of being ones target sex. Crossdreamer is a subcategory under the wider umbrella term ‘transgender’ … Crossdreamers may be assigned male or female at birth. Their sexual orientation varies. There is no clear and distinct boundary between crossdreamers and other transgender people.”
This book, most of which originally appeared on www.crossdreamers.com is in the form of a dictionary or lexicon. There are in fact three parts:
1. The Creative Crossdreamer Vocabulary;
2. Words that do not belong in a crossdreamer vocabulary;
3. Appendix: Transgender Dictionary.
We will take these in reverse order.
Appendix: Transgender Dictionary.
As in other lexicons that we have considered, it is light on history, for example She-Male, described as a derogatory term used in pornography, is defined: “A genetic male who has physical characteristics of both male and female. This term should never be used for a real life non-op MTF transsexual (to whom it may refer).” In addition to ignoring RuPaul, this of course ignores how the term was used by and about Christine Jorgensen and Coccinelle. Only later was the term appropriated in pornography. The definition also denies the choice of the term to trans women working in pornography.
Jack defines Gender : “(1) In social studies: the socially constructed roles, behaviors, activities, and attributes that a given society considers appropriate for men and women. (2) In biology: the state of being male or female. The biology of gender is a scientific analysis of the physical basis for behavioural differences between males and females. “ But then defines Transitioning: “Wikipedia defines this as the process of changing genders - the idea of what it means to be female or male. I am using the term for the process of changing ones biological sex, arguing that an M2F transsexual woman is a woman/has the female gender both before and after the transition (see also sex reassignment surgery).” There is a serious equivocation here. What a transsexual woman has before and after is not the socially constructed roles, etc. Everybody has that. What she has before and after is a gender identity. The HBS people repeatedly conflated gender and gender identity, and it is part of their legacy that many today make the same conflation.
He defines Transgenderist as per Virginia Prince’s usage, as promoted by Richard Docter and IFGE, but does not mention that Vivian Namaste uses the term with no Princian connotations at all. He does add the useful comment: “Some deny that transgenderists exist, arguing that they are either misled transsexuals or ‘autogynephiliacs’. The term must not be confused with ‘transgender’, which is an umbrella term for all gender variant people.”
Jack has an excellent section on the different types of Separatists: 1) Classic transsexuals 2) HBS 3) transkids (Blanchardian) 4) Princians 5) truscum.
Words that do not belong in a crossdreamer vocabulary
The section header is of course a rhetorical flourish. We very much need to talk about these four to be able to counter them.
There is a honest evaluation of crossdreamers:
“Many crossdreamers are transphobic in the sense that they express strong negative feelings about transgender and transsexual people. This may come as a surprise to outsiders, as it is pretty clear that crossdreamers themselves are transgender (in the wide sense of being gender variant). Some are even transsexual.
The explanation for this paradox is found is normally found in their upbringing and social conditioning. They have been brought up to believe trans equals perversion. Now they try to dismiss any doubts about their own sexuality and identity by dismissing all those who may undermine their self-image.”
It is a pity in a way that there is no discussion of Anne Vitale’s concept of Gender Deprivation Anxiety Disorder, which would fit in well here.
The Creative Crossdreamer Vocabulary
However let us first look at the words that appear both here and in the Appendix: Transgender Dictionary.
Separatist. The heterosexual male-dressers (a la Virginia Prince) has been moved to (1), and an extra category added: “6) Some crossdreamers believe their cross-gender erotic fantasies are purely fetishistic, and that they therefore have nothing in common with transsexual people. Alternatively: They believe all trans people are fetishists, and fetishists only. The operative phrase here is ‘We are normal men/women with a sexual kink’.
Transsexual, a one-paragraph entry in the Appendix, is now a full-page essay. It mentions the therapies available, and that “most of them are deeply anchored in one, fairly distinct, sex identity”. He continues: “transsexual men and women are different from many other transgender people, some of whom may be more ‘gender fluid’, and concludes: “It seems to me that many, if not most, transsexuals have been crossdreamers, in the sense that they have had sexual fantasies about having sex as their target sex. There is simply no other way for them to fantasize about having sex. But note that not all crossdreamers are gender dysphoric. Moreover, not all gender dysphoric crossdreamers transition.”
Some of the new words are not Jack’s and thus are not marked with a *. This include Transgifted (proposed by Esther Pirelli); Quackaphilia – for the attraction to quack theories such as autogynephilia (proposed by Felix Conrad), Cistem – the social naturalness of non-transgender (proposed by Christine Marie Jentof).
Some of the new terms:
Ambiviolence – those who attack in others what they are afraid of in themselves.
Creative Crossdreaming - using artistic creativity to express and understand the crossdreamer self, and to engage in crossdreamer erotic fantasies.
Crossgrief – “a deep and intense feeling of grief and sorrow from that comes from the realization that your real life is in some way misaligned with your inner life”.
Dark Crossdreamers – “Dark crossdreamers are people who have managed to suppress their transgender side completely. They are not even aware of splitting (i.e. a mental compartmentalization of their other side). … The existence of dark crossdreamers makes it impossible to determine how large a proportion of the human population is actually crossdreamers (or transgender, for that matter).”
Hormony – “The feeling of peace, calm and harmony transgender people often feel after starting taking the hormones of their target sex. This applies to transsexuals, but also to other male to female and female to male crossdreamers who take such hormones in order to get relief from their dysphoria.” Jack does not mention that this usage is a reversal of the joke that Harry Benjamin made when he met Sigmund Freud in the 1930s.
Ideofluster - “words used to describe him or her cease to make sense. This can cause much confusion and uncertainty, and may lead to an identity crisis.”
Normailien - “they try to adapt to the gender identity and the gender roles their friends, families and colleagues expect of them”.
Splitter – “crossdreamers who split their minds in two, leaving one part for the inner sex and one for the outer.”
This is just a sample that I have selected.
There is narrative power in the Crossdreamer vision. It deconstructs the barrier between trans and cis, and perhaps unifies transsexual, transvestite, drag and dreamers more so than the word ‘trans’ does. It especially allows for the fact that we each dream of gender in our own way, and find different solutions. The transsexual path is not for all.
This book is short and an easy read. It will repay being visited more than once.